3 Ways To Get Approved For A Business Credit Card
If you run your own business--whether it's a retail store, direct sales, hobby shop or freelance consulting--chances are you've thought about getting a business credit card. It's probably a good idea, since it makes it easy for you to separate your business expenses from your home expenses, a task that helps keep your paperwork organized and simplifies things at tax time. When you're ready to apply for a business card, follow this checklist:
1. Choose a card
Some cards offer special deals, financing or rewards for small business owners. For example, some rebate cards offer you a percentage back on everything you buy at a certain store, like a warehouse store or online store. Other cards offer cash rebates when you spend at supermarkets, gas stations or home improvement stores. If you travel often, a frequent flier or travel rewards card might get you the best and biggest bonuses. Choosing the right reward card--depending on the type of business you operate and the expenses you incur--can mean extra money in your pocket all year long.
2. Gather up paperwork
You'll need basic information about your company's financial situation, including the name of your business, the tax identification number, the business address, the number of years you've been an owner, the number of employees, the nature of the business, the business' average annual income, and the amount in the business' checking account. You'll also need to know the legal entity of your business, such as whether it's a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a partnership, a non-profit, etc.
3. Fill out the application
You can find applications for almost all business credit cards online, although in most cases you can also call and apply over the phone (a good idea if you have any questions). Depending on your credit rating, you may have to provide extra documentation of your business' current financial status, so be prepared to mail or fax information if requested. After you fill out the application, approval can take anywhere from thirty seconds to a month.
To find business credit cards online, do an Internet search or check the websites of major credit card companies.
Are You A Credit Card Tart?
Some people use the word tart as an insult; others as a bit of friendly banter. Either way, it's not the sort of term you associate with financial matters, especially not with credit cards. A credit card tart is someone who moves from credit card to credit card, taking advantage of the best offers. In the process, that person can save hundreds, and perhaps make money as well.
Being a successful credit card tart takes a bit of knowledge and a lot of organisation. The knowledge has to do with finding out which preferential rate deals are available. The organisation comes in remembering when you need to switch from one card to another.
How It Works
Many credit card companies offer incentives to get customers to sign up. Some incentives are low balance transfer rates. These allow people to transfer balances on which they are paying a high rate of interest to credit cards with a lower rate of interest. Sometimes this interest rate is as low as 0%, though this is usually available for a limited period of between six months and one year. Other balance transfer incentives offer a low rate for as long as the balance transferred stays on the card.
Credit card companies hope that people who take advantage of these incentives will remain with them even when the preferential period runs out. Many people do, but credit card tarts use these incentives to their advantage. Instead of keeping their debt on the same credit card forever, credit card tarts move their balances from card to card, taking advantage of the best offers. This is also known as 'rate surfing'.
Making The Most Of Rate Surfing
Rate surfing can save hundreds as people who are enjoying a low or nil balance transfer rate are able to pay off some of the balance when making their payments.
To make the most of rate surfing, look at the small print to see what transactions the preferential interest rate applies to. There may be a different rate for withdrawing cash, using credit card cheques or making purchases.
Keeping A Good Credit Rating
The key to being a successful credit card tart or rate surfer is to make all the credit card payments on time. Late payments will affect your credit rating. A poor credit history will make it harder to get a new card the next time you want to take up an offer.
Credit card companies have now got wise to rate surfers and credit card tarts. Many of them have introduced a one-off balance transfer fee. This is usually a fixed percentage of the balance transferred. In some cases, there is no cap on the fee, so transferring a large balance could incur a huge fee. This is a way for credit card companies to make rate surfing less attractive, as the practice costs them hundreds of thousands in lost interest each year.
Credit card companies are also becoming very selective about who gets their credit cards. This is another way of clamping down on credit card tarts, so if you're a credit card tart, enjoy it while it lasts.